Lower Macungie commissioners took action to improve tractor trailer safety and to seek grants to create a new township park and trail segment at their Thursday night meeting.
They also had a big debate about one of two relatively small changes at David Jaindl's Hills at Lock Ridge residential subdivision, which lies between Macungie and Alburtis.
The four commissioners at the meeting unanimously agreed to send "strongly worded" letters to owners of all existing and planned warehouses in the township, encouraging them to install on-site truck scraping mechanisms as a public safety measure.
The goal is to have ice and snow scraped from the tops of tractor-trailers before they leave warehouses, because sheets of the white stuff can fly off and slam into vehicles driving behind them, causing accidents.
The recommendation to send the letters came from Commissioners Ron Beitler and Douglas Brown, who comprise the commissioners' public safety committee.
Beitler said warehouses should want to have ice and snow removed from trucks "because this is a liability issue for them."
Commissioners also voted to prevent trucks more than 40 feet long from trying to turn onto Mountain Road from Gehman, Orchard or Schoeneck roads.
Such trucks will be allowed to travel no farther south on Gehman, Orchard and Schoeneck than Scenic View Drive in the Hills at Lock Ridge.
The township's engineer determined the roads are too narrow for trucks longer than 40 feet to make turns onto Mountain Road without leaving paved surfaces.
The engineer also determined that such large trucks block all lanes when attempting to turn, creating a safety hazard for other drivers.
One truck turning onto Mountain Road damaged a barn.
Signs will be posted to advise drivers of the new restrictions. Violators will be fined $75.
Beitler said the ordinance is needed to address a safety concern on Mountain Road, "but my word of caution is we need to monitor the situation on Scenic View to make sure trucks aren't trucking down there to get to Schoeneck and back to Route 100."
In previous meetings, Beitler has said he understands Scenic View is a connector road built to handle truck traffic, "but it also is a residential road. There are houses in Hills at Lock Ridge that front onto Scenic View."
Beitler said the township should do all it can to deter trucks from going south toward Scenic View Drive.
Another tractor-trailer problem on Schoeneck
Commissioners were read a letter from resident Peter Pavlovic, who is concerned about a different tractor-trailer issue at the north end of Schoeneck Road, where it intersects Route 100.
Pavlovic said hundreds of tractor-trailers use Schoeneck Road between Alburtis Road and Route 100 every week. He said Schoeneck was not designed for that kind of "extremely heavy" truck usage and all those trucks are creating an unsafe situation.
He said the road is not wide enough for tractor-trailers to turn onto it from Route 100 and asked the township to improve the intersection.
Township officials have been aware of that hazardous intersection, and anticipating a solution, for more than two years.
In 2012, commissioners learned the Route 100/Schoeneck Road intersection will be relocated, with a new section of Schoeneck meeting Route 100 farther to the north.
Route 100 will be widened at that new intersection, with a right lane for southbound traffic to turn onto Schoeneck.
Traffic coming north on Schoeneck will have dual left turn lanes to turn onto northbound Route 100.
Building the redesigned intersection will cost more than $2.5 million and be paid by two developers: Jaindl Land Company and Panattoni.
The township initially hoped that project would be completed in 2013, but that didn't happen.